Frequently Asked questions for MA applicants.

What is the application process?

To enrol in the MA in SSDA, students should first enrol and complete at least one course with the single course exam. After marks are received for the first course(s), you may apply to begin your MA with a start date based on your earliest counted course, with three years allowed for completion.  The application process will involve a form with basic information, a CV and a brief description of your research interests. For a copy of the form, please email

What happens after I applied?
We will evaluate all applications based on the merits of the applicant. We do not intend to explicitly limit the number of available places, but places will be limited by the prospects for supervision.

Does the selection of students depend on the type of Summer School courses they want to attend in the future?

What do I need to do to receive the M.A.?
In addition to paying the fees, you need to pass all exams of four Summer School courses you attended, and you need to receive a pass mark for an M.A. dissertation, which will be a publishable piece of original research focused on social science data analysis.

Can I take any course?
No. There are restrictions on the maximum number of introductory and intermediate courses that we accept for the M.A. See here for more information.

I attended Summer School courses in the past. Does this count?
Yes, we accept two past examined courses prior to enrolment. These are fully credited towards the M.A., subject to the restrictions described here.

But I did not pass single course exams last year…?
Under some circumstances, we can give you the opportunity to “re-sit” exams in the following year without retaking the course. This will depend on whether the course is still available with the same instructor, we cannot guarantee that the course content will be exactly the same. “Re-sit” exams cost the same fee as standard exams. It is, however, recommended to retake the course.

Do you accept courses I took at my home university or other Summer Schools?

Can I choose my M.A. dissertation supervisor?

How then do you choose the supervisor?
We try to find a highly qualified scholar in the field you are working on, with emphasis on methodological expertise.

Will the supervisor be from my home university?


Will the supervisor be from the University of Essex?
Possibly, but it will depend on the topic of your dissertation and the appropriateness and availability of supervisors.

What do you expect from an M.A. dissertation?
We expect that students write a publishable manuscript on a topic that sits firmly within the social sciences and that uses an advanced quantitative methodology for empirical analysis.

Will I be able to finish in one year?
It is possible to finish one year after completing courses, and courses can be completed in one summer, but not desirable. To do this you would need to pass 4 single course exams in one summer, with at least one set of concurrent enrolments. This will be highly demanding.

How much time do I have to finish the M.A.?
You have to finish in 3 years after the first course formally counted toward the degree unless there are extenuating circumstances. For example, a student taking their first course in summer 2023 would need to submit the dissertation by August 2026 and should finish all courses by August 2025.

Are there deadlines for submitting the M.A. dissertation?
The final submission deadline is August of the third year from the time of the first course. The proposal and supervisor must be approved before supervision begins. Note that the dissertation mark has to be confirmed by an external examiner in the process of an ‘exam board’ at the University of Essex. This takes place in November every year. For this reason, there is a deadline to submit the dissertation by August to receive the M.A. that year.

By when do I have to apply? Is there a deadline?
No, you can apply anytime.

I have more questions
Send them to